This year marks the centenary of the ending of the Great War. In an early commemoration of the November 11 armistice, collaborative artists Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and pianist Paula Fan present a program entitled “Lost Voices, Empty Chairs,” featuring musical settings of the poetry of the war. Please note the special time of this recital: 4:00 p.m. Friday (March 2).
According to Fan, the concert will include musical settings of the work of Rupert Brooke, E.A. Housman, Herman Melville and others, but will focus on the poems of Welshman Hedd Wyn, celebrated in Wales but little known in America.
Wyn, born Ellis Humphrey Evans into a rural family, was known as a shepherd as well as a poet. Although a pacifist, he enlisted in the British military in lieu of his younger brother and was killed on July 31, 1917 in the battle of Passchendaele in Belgium.
Box content[/su_box]He was a master of complicated Welsh poetic forms known as “cynghanedd,” involving intricate repetitions and complex meters. Fan said Wyn’s name and tragic story “have come to symbolize both the loss to the language and culture of Wales, as well as the bereavement of countless Welsh families” in the First World War.
Williams has a world-wide reputation as a skilled crafter of art songs, especially of recent vintage, as well as an operatic and oratorio performer. A consummate collaborative pianist, Fan is a UA Regent’s Professor Emerita and a frequent visitor to the ASA. The duo have toured throughout the world giving joint recitals and have recorded extensively.
Both Williams and Fan intersperse interesting stories and information in their programs and enjoy interacting with ASA audiences. As usual, the program will be held in the Great Room of the ASA building.
Written by Dennis Anderson, Academy Village Volunteer